Welsh Government
Printable version E-mail this to a friend

Campaign for Forgotten Victims of Domestic Abuse Launched

Shoppers on Cardiff’s Queen Street will see an unusual sight alongside the Christmas tree yesterday as a giant children’s ‘Christmas Wish List’ goes on display to highlight the effect domestic abuse has on the children who are exposed to it.

The five foot high list promotes the messages of the Welsh Government’s campaign to help raise awareness and challenge attitudes towards domestic abuse in Wales. The list features the Christmas wishes of a brother and sister who simply want the violence they see at home to stop.

The devastating effects of domestic abuse on adults are well documented. Far less is reported about the impact it has on children who witness a parent or care-giver being subjected to violence. These children – the forgotten victims of violence in the home – are the focus of this latest campaign.

The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, was on hand to launch the campaign alongside the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler.

Carwyn Jones said:

“The Welsh Government is committed to tackling all forms of domestic abuse. While we have come a long way in tackling this heinous crime, I recognise that more needs to be done and by working with our partners we will make the victims of domestic abuse and their children safer.

”I am sure that the additional 500 Community Support Officers the Welsh Government is putting in place as one of the top commitments in its Programme for Government will play their part in this crucial area of work. These additional CSOs will play a crucial role, working as part of a wider policing team. They will be highly visible in their communities, engaging with people, providing reassurance and tackling a range of issues with partners and community organisations – including anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and wider criminal activity."

‘Live Fear Free’ is the latest campaign to be launched by Welsh Government as part of its ongoing ‘Right to Be Safe’ agenda. The campaign’s website – www.livefearfree.org.uk – includes information on how to seek help along with two high-impact videos focusing on sexual violence against women and the effects of domestic abuse on children.

Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler said:

“It’s encouraging that the Welsh Government is now looking at domestic violence from the child’s perspective because often they are the forgotten victims.  

“These are very vulnerable children and young people who have a right to be kept safe. Those who witness abuse in the home need to know they don’t need to suffer in silence – there is support available to deal with their immediate situation and advice on how to protect themselves from becoming tomorrow’s adult victims.”

Welsh Women’s Aid estimates that as many as 150,000 children and young people are affected by domestic abuse in Wales at any one time. Research has also shown that, in 9 out of 10 cases, children and young people are present in the home when abuse is taking place.

Children can experience both short and long-term effects as a result of witnessing domestic abuse, and each child will respond differently to the trauma.

NSPCC national head of service for Wales, Des Mannion, said:

 “Every year thousands of children are the hidden victims of domestic abuse.  The abuse can be perpetrated by men or women and experienced by children in many different ways. They may hear the abuse, witness it happening, see their parent's injuries or be coerced in to bullying the victims as well.

“We also know that children living in these homes are significantly more likely to experience physical abuse themselves so it is vital that these families receive the right support.”

A range of services are available across Wales to provide practical and emotional support in response to domestic abuse. For information about these services available please contact the All Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.  Children and young people seeking help can ring Childline on 0800 1111 while adults worried about the welfare of a child or young person can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000.

Related Links

The Employee and Lone Worker Protection Manual: Download here